Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

In the pockets of special interests

How do you know when a legislator is in the pocket of a special interest group? Check out the legislation sponsored by that legislator, and see if it repeats -- without question, without investigation -- the interest group's talking points.

A prime example is Senate Bill 776, which would require the state of Oregon to "collect data and study 'alternative-to-abortion organizations' in Oregon."

The bill was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown, Sen. Richard Devlin and Rep. Diane Rosenbaum "at the request of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon [and] NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon." SB776 is co-sponsored by Senators Brad Avakian, Floyd Prozanski and Vicki Walker, and Representatives Jeff Barker, Suzanne Bonamici, Tina Kotek, Mary Nolan and Carolyn Tomei. Every sponsor -- except for first-year representatives Bonamici and Kotek -- is rated as a 100 percent supporter of NARAL, according to Project Vote Smart.

So basically, Planned Parenthood (PP) and NARAL wrote the bill for their friends in the legislature, creating a fishing expedition in an attempt to intimidate pregnancy centers that don't proclaim the "abortion for all" mantra of the extreme left.

And what is this "investigation" based on? Well, the falsehoods start in the bill's first paragraph:
Whereas “alternative-to-abortion organizations,” also called “crisis pregnancy centers,” misinform and mislead women to deter or to delay them from having abortions;
Misinform and mislead. Pretty serious accusations. On what information do they base this statement? Does the bill provide any proof? Is there any accompanying information that explains the charges?

Not a single example.

This is a classic case of out-of-state special interests run amuck, as the issue revolves around Crisis Pregnancy Centers (hereby known as CPCs) around the country that supposedly lie about their services to get an abortion-minded women in the door, and then pressure her to continue the pregnancy, the old bait-and-switch. It's not really an Oregon issue, but -- just like the tendency for local governments to follow the lead of East Coast nanny states -- some people want to create an issue.

Despite the lack of proof in the bill, however, you don't have to hunt too far to find examples from across the country, thanks to your friendly neighborhood pro-abortion folks. Carla over at Loaded Orygun was kind enough to link to this, which illustrates a pathetic attempt by a CPC to guilt a rape victim into carrying the result of her trauma. (I doubt the story is true, and there are folks on the pro-abortion side who share my doubts. It was deliberately chosen to illustrate the most extreme example -- rape victims consist of less than 1 percent of all women undergoing abortions -- but it is pathetic if valid.)

SB776 is written in the hopes that some young Oregon girl will come out of the woodwork to testify against CPCs, thus tarring the entire industry. But would that be grounds for "investigating" every CPC in the state? If an abortion clinic welcomed a young pregnant girl into its office and promised to help her, and then lied to her or tried to coerce her into an abortion, it would be grounds for investigating that clinic and possibly shutting it down. But it would not mean that every abortion clinic should suddenly be under state investigation.

It's the equivalent of asking: "So, have you stopped beating your wife?" It's a muckraker question asked without proof, without basis, in the hopes that something juicy will turn up under the next rock. It forces the target to defend himself against slanderous accusations, and any answer can be twisted as an admission to the charge, regardless of guilt.

It seems amazing that these legislators would accept the word of PP and NARAL as gospel, but it's not actually that surprising when they're in the abortion-lobby's hip pocket. CPCs are at least partially responsible for putting a dent in PP's business, as CPCs help women recognize the miracle of new life and decide not to abort their child, so PP and related groups have a vested interest in driving them out of business. This legislation was written to eliminate the competition, and pro-abortion legislators are falling over themselves to oblige.

(According to numbers from 2002, PP earns roughly 20 percent of its income -- not including the $250 billion it receives annually from the government -- by performing a quarter of a million abortions every year. For every 100 abortions at PP centers, it provides prenatal care for seven women and only makes one adoption referral, an interesting stat that betrays its true reason for existence.)

I'm not so naive as to think that PP and NARAL don't have testimony from someone who called a CPC and was told that "all condoms are defective and have slots and holes in them" or "9 out of 10 couples that go through an abortion split up," as was discussed in this Time magazine article.

But CPC protocols make it clear what they expect from their volunteers -- they don't refer for abortion or birth control, they don't give medical advice or claim they're a medical facility, they don't bad-mouth other organizations, and any deception or false implication is unacceptable. The website for Portland's Pregnancy Resource Centers specifically lists its services, and the only entry for abortion is "Information on Abortion Risks, Procedures and Alternatives." Not the procedures themselves, just information.

Oh, and PRC also offers maternity clothes; baby clothes, toys and furniture; adoption information; parenting classes; and referrals for a variety of community service organizations. Of course, it also discusses the fetus as a living human being, and notes the risks of abortion, something you won't find at your friendly neighborhood PP, which likes to talk about clumps of cells instead of arms and legs.

Do CPCs want an abortion-minded pregnant women to come in? Of course. They know (and PP/NARAL hates this!) that a woman who sees her baby on an ultrasound is likely to learn -- gasp! -- that there's a baby growing inside her.

Oh, but PP and NARAL are concerned about the truth. They want women to have all the options, so they can make informed decisions. But they should be careful when they accuse Oregon CPCs of misinformation based on national examples, as they have a few such problems of their own. So if we're going to "investigate" CPCs, why not investigate PP for willful and deliberate cover-up of sexual abuse (which, the last time I checked, was against the law, unlike failure to provide birth control info)?

Why won't a PP investigation happen? Because pro-abortion legislators are willing to play politics on behalf of the abortion-for-all mantra.

SB776 also makes several other mind-blowing claims. Here's a rundown:
Whereas some crisis pregnancy centers intentionally choose their names to mislead women into believing that the centers offer a wide range of family planning and abortion care when they do not;
Ooh, scary. Crisis Pregnancy Centers should change their names to Non-Abortion Resource Center, right after Planned Parenthood changes its name to Abortions R Us. And since when is it government's job to police the name of a business?

Look in the yellow pages, and you'll find CPCs under "abortion alternatives" and PP under "abortion providers." Not much gray area there.
Whereas many crisis pregnancy centers not only mislead women about abortion care but also will not provide information about birth control;
Suddenly the state is going to regulate private organizations that don't provide birth control information? Talk about Big Brother! Since when is it government's responsibility to force private entities to talk about any pregnancy option, regardless of how morally repugnant it may seem to them?

And the one that kills me:
Whereas in order to confuse their clients and capitalize on their patients' confusion, crisis pregnancy centers design their facilities to look like health care facilities and locate the facilities near clinics that offer family planning and abortion care;
Hey, that CPC moved in down the street from our abortion clinic! No fair! I'm gonna tell on you!

But let's talk about that, shall we? According to that Time magazine article:
Abortion remains one of the most common surgical procedures in the U.S. for women and, according to the Guttmacher Institute, fewer than 0.3% of patients experience a complication serious enough to require hospitalization.
With 1.7 million annual abortions, that's almost 100 women every week who need medical care after an abortion. Shouldn't that mean abortion clinics should meet the highest medical standards?

Not in Oregon. Those clinics are not regulated as medical facilities because state law assumes abortions are done in physicians' offices, and thus exempts abortion procedures from the rules overseeing outpatient facilities. The problem is that more than 90 percent of abortions are done in abortion clinics, separate from physicians' offices. In other words, abortion procedures are done in outpatient medical facilities, but state law hasn't caught up to that fact, so abortion clinics don't have to meet the standards required of a wisdom tooth extraction.

So whose qualifications should be questioned?

I don't have any expectations that PP and NARAL will stop playing politics with the abortion issue -- in the case of NARAL, in particular, that's the group's sole reason for existence. I just wish elected representatives would stop blindly following the pro-abortion lobby without using their brains along the way.

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  • At 3/15/2007 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OT: Gordon Smith voted with the Democrats just a shoirt while ago on S.J.Res. 9 the joint resolution to revise United States policy on Iraq.

    So now Smith is officially on record for "cutting and running". Thoughts?

  • At 3/16/2007 9:16 AM, Anonymous Lois said…

    What a great post. Ken, your insights are priceless.

    Now Upper Left Coast readers: email your State Senator and ask them to kill this thing!


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